As part of a series, The Artling interviewed three emerging Singaporean artists specially selected to curate this year’s Singapore Arts Club (formerly known as DRIVE), a public arts project organized by Arnoldii Arts Club and Gillman Barracks. In this edition, we talk to artist Sean Lee about the creative process in producing his commission and his participation in the event.
Tell us a bit about how you became involved in this edition of Singapore Arts Club and what most excites you about the programme this year.
Audrey [producer and owner of Yeo Workshop] contacted me after my friend Zhuang WuBin made a recommendation to her regarding my work. I have never really had a show outdoors, with the proportions of my artwork enlarged to such a scale before. So this is new and exciting for me.
The theme of this year’s Singapore Arts Club is ‘myth’, which seems very broad. What was your creative process in undertaking this theme and were there any challenges you faced during the conception of your work?
All of my work deal in one way or another to themes that relate to intimate relationships, memory and longing. It is fortunate that the theme is broad enough to contain the kinds of work I would have wanted to do with or without the show.
The Singapore Arts Club is a joint project with both Gillman Barracks and Arnoldii Arts Club, the latter of which focuses on creating opportunities for people in Singapore to learn more about art. What do you think about arts education in Singapore and how do you think we can improve on our current programmes?
I have never had a formal art education in Singapore. I became a camera assistant right after I left the army. I think I am not the best person to speak on the subject.
Your body of work appears to mainly focus on a sense of intimacy both in the way you select and frame your subject-matter. However, in Rooms you enlarge photographs of places where you grew up to almost strange proportions, frustrating the intimate nature of the subject through its sheer scale; what led you to this decision and how do you think it changes the viewer’s experience of the photographs?
To me there are only 2 appropriate sizes for photographs. The first is that it is small enough that you can hold them in your hand. It becomes then an object, a personal possession. It finds itself in the realm of things.
The other is so big that it makes the viewer feel completely overwhelmed. It becomes almost like a physical structure or a part of a building.
As part of your Singapore Arts Club commission, Two People, strangers are encouraged to lie in bed together and take a photo in a live interactive photography set. What sort of reaction do you hope that people will have in response to this, or is the unexpectedness and the inability to control each person’s reaction the whole point of the exercise?
Yes you are quite right. I think it is the unexpectedness that I am most looking forward to.
Read the other articles in this series, including our interviews with artists Jack Tan and Joo Choo Lin.
The Artling is an official Media Partner for Singapore Arts Club.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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